The Canadian SNC Debacle

The Trudeau government has found itself in a very uncomfortable position which has led to the questioning of the Canadian government’s ideals. The SNC-Lavalin debacle has escalated to the point Prime Minister Trudeau has a record low Ipsos poll approval rating that comes in even worse than Donald Trump’s.[1]  A common occurrence that was blown out of proportion? Maybe. However, that does not make it any better. As a country that prides itself on the Rule of Law, there must be, and under the constitution is, a clear division between the legislative and legal branches.

To me, I think this case is the perfect example of the influence multinational corporations can have on legislative procedures. Gilpin’s discussion of the phenomenon that political and corporate leaders tend to share overlapping intersects and perspectives is genuinely demonstrated in this case. With a federal election approaching, SNC-Lavalin recognized that due to the mobile nature of their business, they could threaten to leave if the Canadian government did not interfere in the legal proceedings against SNC. Universally, it seems there is no doubt that multinational corporations are not afraid to exercise their power to coerce the government into doing their dirty work. It becomes increasingly evident that major corporations in Canada may have too much power and control over institutional outcomes.

Although unlikely, hopefully through regulatory means, a division between overbearing MNCs and their institutional access will be installed. Through means of preventing campaign finances or tough market, exit barriers can help mitigate against collusion.


[1]Kalvapalle, Rahul. “Trudeau Now Has a Lower Approval Rating than Trump, with Tories Way Ahead: Ipsos Poll.” Global News, 28 Mar. 2019, globalnews.ca/news/5103763/trudeau-approval-rating-snc-lavalin-budget/.